In the day-to-day business of selling purging compounds and managing customer accounts, there is one issue that comes up more than you'd think. This occurs when good customers suddenly have a shortage or outage of purging compound on hand. There are many reasons why this could happen, but the outcome and results are almost always the same. Machines are shut down and there is a temporary increase in scrap until more purging compound can be delivered. Often, using expedited shipping is the solution which comes with a premium price tag.
This can be a heightened situation that leads to undue stress as a result of facing costly, unplanned downtime. Although the situation can be resolved relatively quickly, it consumes time better spent working on something productive. The efforts and time being taken away to resolve a shortage are moving your needle backward, instead of a positive direction.
Here some ideas and tips to consider using in order to avoid a sudden shortage of purging compound within your facility:
- Set up a Kanban Card or managed inventory type system. Think of purging compounds as an MRO item, more so than a raw material used in making your plastic products. With the latter, a shortage may go unnoticed until the time is now, that the purge compound is needed! Like MRO items in a tool crib, set predetermined mid or low point inventory levels. Then implement a physical re-order card, visual level indicator, or electronic signal to alert the responsible purchaser to place a new order. The Key to success here is communication! Make sure all end users and the purchaser are aware of what’s in place and follow a set procedure when the re-order point has been reached.
- Set up a blanket purchase order, with predetermined release dates. If purging compound usage is somewhat consistent, this is a winning strategy. As you can be assured material will be on the way and always there when needed. In the event it's looking like you’ll need it sooner or later, adjustments to the release dates can certainly be made. Using forecast demand planning will avoid a shortage situation. Further, there are additional discount options available which reduce the purging compound price per pound. Planning will almost always save you time and money in the long run!
- Have your Technical Sales Representative check in periodically on performance and inventory levels. A quick email or a phone call based on ordering patterns can serve as a gentle reminder to take a firsthand look at current levels. As needed, it can also serve as a continuous improvement needs assessment of your company’s purging program. This can be a great opportunity to work with your supplier for any new applications in the pipeline or improved program objectives. Overall, make sure you’re consistently getting the most cost savings opportunities out of your Purge and your Technical Sales Representative.
Learn about the importance of implementing proper purging procedures by downloading this free industry guide.